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VIDEO: Nats manager Matt Williams one-on-one

Jan 24, 2014, 9:28 AM EDT

Photo via Comcast SportsNet Photo via Comcast SportsNet

Nationals manager Matt Williams sat down with Brian Mitchell on Thursday night for a one-on-one interview as part of SportsTalk Live’s ‘Open Mic’ segment. Williams looked ahead to this weekend’s NatsFest, as well as the new season, giving a preview of what to expect over the next few weeks as the team reports to spring training in Viera, Fla.

Williams talked about the final rotation spot and how he expects it to be an “open competition.”

“We have a number of guys capable of filling that position,” he said.

Williams also discussed keeping Bryce Harper healthy and on the field, saying the objective is for Harper to play a full “182 games.” Williams was alluding to the team’s hopes for an extended postseason run.

In the end Williams and Mitchell have some fun talking about the former Redskins player potentially throwing out a first pitch at Nats Park this season. Williams is all for it, but he wants Mitchell to prove himself first in spring training, in a week-long “boot camp” to make sure his arm is in shape.

“Then we can evaluate you like any other player,” he said.

  1. NatsLady - Jan 24, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    Thanks, that was a fun interview. I hope “182 games” isn’t the same as “WS or Bust.” ;)

    P.S. Chase– “alluding” not “eluding.”

    • David Proctor - Jan 24, 2014 at 9:47 AM

      I hope Matt Williams isn’t eluding Bryce!

  2. TimDz - Jan 24, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    “You can expect me to defend my players, our players.”

    Duck, Davey!!! shot coming in across the bow!

    • nats128 - Jan 24, 2014 at 10:07 PM

      That was a clear takeaway.

  3. NatsLady - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    Off topic, but I was thinking Clip might go the full route to arbitration. Marquis Grissom was on TV saying that every player should go to arbitration once in his career to see first hand the business side of MLB. By now Clip is a veteran, and has a good sense of his own worth, and probably has a strong enough ego to withstand Rizzo’s bashing. After all, they’ve known each other a long time, and had differences of opinion before.

    Then you wonder, what kind of idea does Clip have for the rest of his career? Free agency is coming up. You need to know your value as seen by GMs, not your value as seen by you and your agent. Post-playing career, does he plan to stay in Florida as a golf pro, or does he have in mind a front-office, scouting or coaching job in baseball?

  4. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    we did not change our hitting coach, right? it is still mr. schu? I worry a bit about that.

    • David Proctor - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      Didn’t the offense do quite well under Schu? Either way, hitting coaches don’t have nearly the impact people think. Eckstein was nothing but a scapegoat.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Jan 24, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        honestly I don’t think so. I think Nationals park has a weird weather factor to it. I have nothing to back this up though, just a hunch.

      • Sonny G 10 - Jan 24, 2014 at 5:21 PM

        +1

  5. David Proctor - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    Why does Matt Williams seem so insistent on batting Bryce 5th? In every interview he’s asked about it, that seems to be what he says, even though Bryce has told him he likes batting 2nd or 3rd. His rationale is that it allows Bryce to run more without taking the bat out of Zim or Werth’s hands. But it seems like wasting Bryce to put him that far down. Granted, he said he hasn’t decided yet and he’ll figure it out in the spring, but he sure seems to like the 5 spot for Bryce.

    If he does indeed put Bryce there, I’d guess the lineup goes:

    Span
    Rendon
    Zim
    Werth
    Harper
    Desi
    LaRoche
    Ramos

    It’s not awful, but it could be better. I’d prefer:

    Span
    Rendon
    Harper
    Zim
    Werth
    Desi
    LaRoche
    Ramos

    If LaRoche hits well, you could always move him up some, but you can’t out on that.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Jan 24, 2014 at 2:02 PM

      If Harper bats fifth, isn’t it more likely to take the bat out of Desi’s hands with Harper threatening to steal? You have hitters after Zim/ Werth that can deliver but you have fewer options after Desi. I hope Matt sticks with what has worked so far for the lineup. Only Rendon should be moved around, depending upon how he does.

      • Section 222 - Jan 24, 2014 at 4:21 PM

        Harper won’t get any chances to steal batting 5th because Desi will swing at the first pitch. :-)

      • Faraz Shaikh - Jan 24, 2014 at 4:29 PM

        Haha, true that.

    • zmunchkin - Jan 24, 2014 at 5:07 PM

      I just listened to his interview today on ESPN 980

      http://www.stationcaster.com/player_skinned.php?s=65&c=428&f=2351713

      He seemed to be very clear than 5th was just one option. He expects to move Bryce around between 2nd, 3rd, 5th and even 4th depending on who they are playing that day.

  6. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 24, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    I hope Cruz, Drew, Jimenez, Morales, and Santana sign with one of Brewers, Padres, Royals, Orioles, Angels, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, and Giants. That can push us few spots ahead from our 19th draft position.

  7. peewilly - Jan 24, 2014 at 9:11 PM

    The next time B Mitch steps inside Nats Park will probaly be his first. I love Nat’s Insider but it’s a shame it has to be tied to CSN. It’s a regional sports network split 50/50 between B-more and DC. Nats coverage is awful.

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